The biblical story goes that when God asked Cain “where is your brother Abel?, he responded, “Am I my brother’s keeper? Answering a question with a question, showing nonchalance and irritation probably to mask the guilt he felt. This would be a completely misplaced question considering the culture of the time period Cain and Abel lived in – when bonds of family and community were strong in rural nomadic tribes of the day and being your brother’s keeper were the norm and needed for the very survival of your clan or family. And that is what the non-profit My Brother’s Keeper’s Alliance hopes to do for young men of African American and Latino descent – provide support to bridge the opportunity gaps faced by young men of color, so they too can break the barriers that hold them back and move on to create better lives for themselves.
My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a spinoff of President Obama’s initiative, is comprised of CEOs from Fortune 500 companies, high-profile entertainers and government officials. The non profit was inspired by the black lives matter movement that has mobilized rallies across the country. President Obama launched the nonprofit last Monday at Lehman College. Watch his speech here.
As President Obama said some communities have the odds consistently stacked against them and people living in those communities could use some help. The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance will “continue the work of opening doors for young people — all our young people — long after I’ve left office,” said Obama.
The new organization has secured $80 million from companies such as News Corp and American Express. The group’s executive team and advisory board includes former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and former Attorney General Eric Holder.
The My Brother’s Keeper initiative will focus federal resources towards closing the opportunity gaps experienced by black and Latino males. They have identified nearly $1 billion in funds from federal agencies and the Department of Labor and National Guard have programs that will together put $100 million on the table to improve career prospects for minorities.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
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